Engineering Student Converts His Grandpa’s Petrol Car in an Electric Vehicle

    The 20-year-parents old’s introduced him to the field of engineering, and when he was six years old, his father gave him his first toolbox. Since then, he has been making things like robots, LED panels, and 3D printers while experimenting with other objects with his screwdriver.

    “My father would buy me and my brother little lights, bulbs, and batteries. He would teach us how to wire them up. Every birthday, I would get some kind of tool. I started building my collection at the age of six and it continues till today. My entire room turned into a workshop,” he tells The Better India.

    Mihir started his “Making with Mihir” YouTube channel when he was in Class 8. Through this medium, he wanted to express his enthusiasm for engineering. Although he began with little initiatives like making a torch, his work has since expanded. Consider the gasoline car he transformed into an electric vehicle.

    Many people have watched his most recent video, which is titled “Simplest EV Conversion under $3000 – Convert Your Car in 3 Days!” This concept first emerged about ten years ago. James Abraham, a friend of the family, is credited by Mihir with having given him the idea.

    “James’ uncle is an engineer and used to teach me about electronics. He is a ‘green guy’ and runs a solar company. When I was in Class 5, he told me that we need to convert a petrol car to an electric one. He used to say that we should buy a small car like a Maruti 800 and convert it. At that time, I just laughed it off. But he kept reminding me of this project every year,” he says. 

    Mihir is a third-year student studying electrical engineering at the University of Illinois.

    In September 2021, he took a brief journey back to Gurugram before James reminded him once more of the idea. This time, Mihir chose to proceed after taking it carefully.

    credit: thebetterindia

    First, Mihir turned off the engine. In order to lighten the engine, he removed the head and pistons while keeping the engine block. He then used an L-shaped motor block to attach the 6 kW Brushless DC motor on top of this engine block. He added a 350A Kelly Controller to this motor.

    He put the lithium ferrophosphate (LFP) battery, 72V 100Ah, in the trunk. The charging cable is where gasoline would typically be placed by him. An electronic brake booster vacuum pump was introduced since braking would be problematic and he desired power braking. In order to recharge the battery that powers the locks, lights, and power windows, he also included a 72-12V DC-DC converter.

    This conversion cost Mihir Rs 2.4 lakh. The vehicle has an 80 km range and a top speed of 60 km/h. Additionally, he claims that this car costs less than Rs 1 per km to operate, compared to Rs 8–10 per km for a fuel vehicle, maintenance included.

    From 2025, there will be more than two crore end-of-life vehicles in India, according to a report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). According to the assessment, these cars will significantly harm the environment and produce pollution.

    Ustad, a trusted neighbourhood mechanic, assisted Mihir as well and accompanied him at all times. He wants to encourage more people to study engineering and put their skills to good use. Two of his endeavours notably aided the populace at the height of the pandemic.

    “Although a car’s performance would be better with a larger motor and battery, this is good enough for city driving. It is also a good use of an end-of-life car like the one I used. Instead of throwing it out, and adding to the carbon emissions, we can reuse it like this. In most end-of-life cars, it’s only the engine that doesn’t function well, leading to increased emissions. By converting to an electric vehicle, you save on these emissions,” says Mihir.

    He claims that he used a 3D printer at home to create more than 1,200 face shields for medical professionals. Additionally, he developed UVC (ultraviolet C) equipment that could disinfect and sanitise.

    “I created two disinfection chambers first, one big and one small. Once people saw them, orders started to pour in. I named it the Terminator Mega and sold one to the PMO’s office, and six to the Army. I also created a robot called Terminator Turbo that can sanitise an entire room,” he says.

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